Reviews of the Best Home Fitness Equipment for Core and Abs Training
When it comes to fitness equipment focused on strengthening your Abs and core muscles, you have more choices than just about any other category. There are benches, rollers, crunch trainers, power towers and even toning belts to consider.
This page takes you through all of the categories, explaining the benefits of each one and picking out the best-selling models / machines in each.
Getting that washboard stomach or even a 6-pack will take some work – though with the right abs equipment this is in your reach.
Here is what you will find below:
First a table with my top picks in each of the main categories. After that an explainer of how each works (I added Power Towers there too) and more on the best-selling examples. After that you’ll find some general notes for making a choice for those who still can’t decide, with a list of the individual abs equipment reviews located at the end of the page.
Table – Best Abs and Core Equipment 2017
Cruch Trainer Pick - Thane WonderCore 2
An upgrade to the best-selling Thane Wondercore, this new model adds arm workouts to the abs / core ones. Excellent feedback so far!
|Product Page Read Review|
Ab Roller Pick - CSX Ab Roller
Robust Ab roller which comes with a mat for your knees. This deceptively simply machine gets results very fast.
|Product Page Read Review|
Traditional Sit Up Bench Pick - We R Sports
It is the flexibility of this We R Sports sit up bench which made it my top pick. A robust bench from a well-respected brand name.
|Product Page Review Soon!|
Toning Belt Pick - Slendertone Abs3
Unisex abs toning belt from the respected Slendertone. This has impressive feedback from buyers, and shows results fast!
|Product Page Read Review|
Types of Ab Fitness Equipment
#1 – Crunch Trainers
You’ll see a mat, a headrest and an arch (or 2 separate arms sticking up). This can be confusing if you have never used one – though you’ll find crunch trainers to be among the most popular pieces of ab / core equipment out there. Their key benefit is to protect your back and neck muscles while you crunch. You still do the hard part (crunching!), though the arms provide balance and support if needed and the headrest + mat both keep you more comfortable compared to the floor. You’ll do many more crunches this way, and those crunches are a great way of tightening up that stomach area.
Other benefits are that you are able to do several different types of crunch (sideways movements for example), and that crunch trainers are great value too.
The Thane WonderCore is the most popular crunch trainer, with a ton of positive feedback from buyers. Instead of an arch, this one has 2 separate arms – though the concept is exactly the same. What I like about the Thane WonderCore is that it is small enough to store away between sessions, and light enough move around.
Check out the gallery and the positive buyer feedback for the Thane WonderCore on this dedicated product page at amazon.co.uk.
Alternatively, you can read my more detailed review of the original WonderCore here.
#2 – Ab Rollers
For me, these are the most deceptive pieces of ab equipment – they pack a big punch for their size (and cost!). The idea is that you roll out from a kneeling position, using your abs / core to prevent the roller from running away from you, and then returning it. Go slow and easy for your first couple of sessions – this is seriously good exercise for those abs and you’ll see and feel the results fast.
Benefits to ab rollers include the lower cost compared to the other categories. Another factor is that you can use these in addition to your other workouts (crunches for example). The small size also makes for easy storage and movement.
My top pick from among the most popular ab rollers this year is the CSX roller. This is better built than many of the ‘no name’ models, and comes with a mat (you’ll find this is a key feature to protect your knees). Very positive feedback for this machine from previous buyers.
Check out the dedicated product page at amazon.co.uk to see the gallery and feedback for yourself.
Alternatively, you can find my detailed review here.
#3 – Sit Up Benches
In some ways this can be thought of as ‘traditional’ abs equipment – a bench which you lay on which includes foot holders. You then use your own body weight at different incline levels to change out the level of resistance for each sit up. The best benches are well padded and have different options for your feet and the incline of the bench to give you flexibility in your routine.
Within this category are two more types of ‘bench’ which allow for different exercises in addition to sit-ups and other abs work. These are hyperextension benches (which you can work your back on) and power towers (which you climb and then use the weight of your legs to work your abs). I do have examples of both included here at fitnessreview.co.uk.
Sit Up Bench (We R Sports)
My pick from the best selling sit up benches is the We R Sports model pictured. This hits the sweet spot between being versatile, robustly built and good value. You’ll find buyers of this model have been very happy with their purchase. We R Sports are a solid all round brand, and this bench folds away between uses (reducing the risk of it becoming a clothes rack!)
Check out the configurations and feedback for the We R Sports Sit up Bench for yourself on this dedicated Product page.
#4 – Ab Toning Belts
These are covered in more detail elsewhere here at FitnessReview.co.uk. Instead of a workout, these are passively worn – tiny electrical impulses stimulate your muscles and give you that workout. Many people are skeptical of these belts, and equally as many set their expectations too high. After surveying the feedback of 100’s of buyers my conclusion is that they do work. You’ll find those abs tightened slightly after just a couple of weeks. What these belts can’t do is get rid of any fat layer around your stomach region (in fact this would limit their use). My advice is that these are great to help tone up, though you’ll need a workout routine too, abs belts are not a ‘magic pill’.
My top pick here has to go to Slendertone, who have been the leaders in this category for many years and have the best feedback from their customers. They have a wide range of models, including special belts for each sex, app connected belts and pads for other parts of your body too. I recommend you check out the Abs3 to start off. This unisex belt has programs for different stages of the process and is built with comfort in mind.
Check out the spec and latest discount on the Abs3 toning belt on the dedicated amazon.co.uk product page now.
Alternatively, you’ll find my detailed review of the Abs3 toning belt here.
Abs and Core Equipment 2017 – Which Option is Best?
This is a common and fair question, and like a lot of them involving fitness the only real answer is ‘it depends!’.
What is depends on is you.
Your current fitness and size / weight.
Your goals (a 6 pack? Or just to lose a couple of spare inches?).
And of course, the amount of effort and focus you are going to be able to put in.
First Base – A Crunch Trainer
For many people, the best first option will be a crunch trainer. These make getting the basic crunch exercises right easy – and with back / neck support they make things more comfortable too. If you start to see some improvements (which you should do with regular use!), then the options which follow would be a bench, roller or even a power-tower.
Check out the excellent Thane WonderCore, a hugely popular model for those starting their abs / core workout journey.
Already Making Progress? Try a Belt
Toning belts have an inherent contradiction. The people that desire them most are usually those with a layer of fat around the middle… That layer of fat stops the electrical signal effectively reaching the muscle. A belt alone will not kill your fat and bring out that 6-pack which was hiding behind it!
Electrical Muscle Stimulation works best as the ‘finishing touch’. You work out first, loose any extra pounds, then do some abs workouts (maybe with a crunch trainer or roller) and then you are ready for a belt to do it’s magic. As you’ll see from the comments left by 100’s of satisfied users, these belts can and do work. If you are overweight, I’m recommending you tackle that first. Check out this list of effective fitness equipment for burning fat!
The known name in Abs belts is of course Slendertone.
Check out those comments for yourself and see how these belts work!
Hardcore Abs Workouts – Rollers
Compared to the effort needed for a situp or crunch, and Abs roller wheel is tough. This uses your own body weight to prevent the wheels from running away, and then to bring them back in again. What I like about these is that you work the abs muscles in a different way than normal. You’ll certainly feel the difference (take it easy on the first few uses). You’ll soon see the difference too.
An abs roller wheel can be used as your only or main piece of equipment here – though it is best as an added extra. An abs roller, crunch trainer and EMS belt (along with a healthy diet) would be an unstoppable combination!
The best-selling abs roller is this value model from 66 Fit – check it out for yourself now!
Sit Up Benches – The Old School:
The humble sit up has been getting a bad press recently, with more exotic variations combing into fashion. Many of us (myself included!) own a simple incline sit ups bench. This has foot holds, a padded surface and is adjustable from a gentle to a steep incline.
Check out the is smart folding sit up bench from the popular We R Sports for yourself now!
If you are really into your body-weight training, and have the space, then a power tower could be right for you!
Reviews of Abs and Core Equipment – Complete List
This list covers all of the abs and core fitness equipment reviews here. I will add newly reviewed items to the top of this list regularly – so make sure that you bookmark this page today!
Best Abs Toning Belt: Detailed article which compares the most popular abs toning belts. Includes a section on whether going for the Slendertone belts is worth the extra money, plus belts which tone areas other than your abs!
Elite Fitness Core Slider Exercisers: Before you dismiss these 2 small sliding pads, check out the feedback from previous buyers. These are powerful when combined with your own body weight.
Confidence Fitness Pro Series Ab Trainer: This is a hybrid machine, part crunch trainer (complete with arched hand bar) and part sit up bench. A popular option which covers both of the common configurations in one.
CXS Ab Roller: This is my pick of the ab rollers, sturdy design, excellent feedback from previous buyers – and comes with a knee pad included too.
Body Sculpture Roller With Headrest: A crunch trainer with padded headrest and 2 sets of arms which allow you to vary your crunches.
Wheels Work You Harder Than You’d Think
66Fit Ab Roller Wheel: This roller wheel is a budget model. It is ideal for those that want to try out an ab roller without parting with too much cash. Solid feedback and small but very effective unit for your money!
Gym Master Power Tower: You hoist yourself up and then get to perform a range of exercises using your legs and bodyweight with Power Towers. This model from Gym Master comes with a solid Amazon.co.uk discount at the time of writing.
Hardcastle Power Tower: All the benefits of a power tower, and at a budget price. While this does not have the build of the mid-priced models, you’ll get a lot of kit for your money.
HomeFront XV1000 Toning Belt: This is a budget alternative to the better known Slendertone toning belts. It has surprisingly positive feedback, and often comes with a large amazon.co.uk discount too.
We R Sports Hyperextension Bench: This compact bench will allow you to work your back as well as your abs and core – from the popular We R Sports.
Weider Crunch Trainer: Solid crunch trainer with a built in mat – comes from Weider, who are well-known for their weights and accessories.
Beurer EM 35 Electrical Stimulation Unit: This is a EMS (electric muscle stimulation) belt which tones you up with 1000’s of tiny electrical pulses.
The Infamous Wondercore
Thane WonderCore: Thane took the crunch trainer concept and made it their own with the unique (and according to feedback, very effective) WonderCore – this is recommended as a great starting point for abs and core training.
Slendertone Abs3 Toning Belt: Similar to the earlier models, only with a programmable interface – check the buyer feedback for a fair assessment of what this belt can and can’t do.
Slendertone Connect Toning Belt: This belt takes things to the next (technology) level by adding app integration to the toning capability.
Thane WonderCore 2: The original WonderCore was a huge seller, and version 2 adds wires to work out your arms to the mix – check out the pictures for this unique item.
Abs Ricket Chair Gym: This curious looking chair / bench hybrid has featured on TV infomercials and is accumulating a lot of positive feedback. It swivels, has pullies and works your abs in many different ways.
Bosu Balance Trainer: This popular dome works your core, abs and other areas using your own body weight as a counterbalance. Another very popular item.